Thousands yet to claim £400 energy grant

World News

Smart Energy shares tips for reducing energy bills

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

All households in the UK are entitled to a grant worth £400 to help with the soaring rise in energy bills. While this is applied automatically to most households, those who have a non-smart prepayment meter are missing out on this support, according to research research. Experts are warning prepayment meter customers the £400 energy bill grant will not be automatically awarded and they will need to take action to get it.

The Government’s grant is a non-repayable discount which is applied directly to a household’s energy bill.

This concession is added to someone’s utility costs over a six-month period which started in October 2022.

In October and November, households are awarded £66 each month with a further £67 added in December, January, February and March, respectively.

Due to prepayment customers being responsible for topping up their own meter, the grant is handed out to them via a voucher scheme.

Despite the support being available, it appears thousands of households on a prepayment meter are failing to take advantage of this £400 grant.

PayPoint, the payment system company, revealed it had expected to process 800,000 vouchers in October through the voucher scheme.

This is worth around £52.8million in energy bill grants but only around £27million in support was redeemed last month, according to the organisation.

Families on a prepayment meter are more likely to be on low income and have less of a safety net when it comes to skyrocketing gas and electricity costs.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Rajan Lakhani, money expert at smart money app Plum urged customers to “receive and redeem” their voucher as soon as possible.

Mr Lakhani explained: “The unit price of energy is double what it was last winter, even taking into account the energy price guarantee. It’s set to rise even further from April 1, by an average 20 percent.

“Fortunately, there will be some extra support this winter for the most vulnerable, including those on benefits and pensioners.

“And if you’re on a non-smart prepayment meter, make sure you’ve received and redeemed your energy support voucher as they can’t be automatically added to your bills.”

The energy expert cited that recent Government support, including the new price guarantee, will not be enough to help low income families struggling with the cost of living.

He added: “The warmer weather when the new price comes into effect will hopefully encourage people to reduce their energy usage. And the forthcoming Government campaign to inform people about ways to save energy should also be helpful too.

“But this won’t be enough for many people across the country. Our data has shown that people are having to make deep cuts in their discretionary spending – for example spending on entertainment is down 14 percent year on year – to afford their utility bills.

“The cost of energy is having a very significant impact on household budgets and driving up inflation, which is also encouraging the Bank of England to raise interest rates that will increasingly hit people’s mortgage payments as well.”

According to Mr Lakhani, the UK should look to see what other countries have done to mitigate the worldwide energy crisis to reduce bills long-term.

The saving expert said: “It’s not clear yet what additional energy bill support the Government will offer next Spring as they’re still deciding whether to offer a social tariff so vulnerable customers get cheaper rates automatically without switching.

“They’re also looking at introducing cheaper rates for a certain amount of energy usage, and then higher rates above that. It’s a solution that’s being introduced in Germany, to help encourage people to reduce their energy consumption while still providing support on energy prices.

“Whatever help is provided, many will be worried about the additional energy price rises to come and the sooner the Government announces more support so people have some peace of mind, the better.”

Source: Read Full Article